Your income is too important to fly by the seat of your pants.
And yet, getting square with money in your massage practice can seem like trying to hold onto a writhing, yowling cat who seems determined to throw itself in front of a moving car. By which I mean, getting a grip on this money issue often feels like a clawed struggle, dangerous for everyone involved . . . yet totally necessary.
Money is no joke and so many people don’t create the thriving practice they so deeply desire because they can’t quite get a hold of this money thing.
If you want to really have a thriving practice, then you need to make sure you have a real system for understanding money in your business.
As you can see on the worksheet, this can be as simple as making sure you have a real, down-to-earth way to track your income from your business.
I have talked to more than one massage therapist (waaay more than one) who tells me they are ready to grow their practice, to really get things going but when I ask them how they are tracking the income they already have, they sheepishly say something like, “Well . . .” and then they trail off and hope I’ll forget what I asked them.
Usually, when I finally pry it out of them, they don’t have a system for tracking their income, they’re mostly just guessing. Usually, they’re kind of afraid to look at it.
I get it. I was there once. But that’s not going to work if you really want to grow.
So, let’s work through this from the beginning.
Is your mind on board?
Most people have some kind of mind hang-up about money. (I still have plenty!) And, if your beliefs about money are stopping you from actually making money, then you’re not going to have much of it to track. So let’s look at that first.
The easiest way I have ever found to start working with my mindset around money is to create Money Mantras. (If you get triggered by the idea of repeating happy thoughts about money to yourself, dig deep and explore that.)
- It’s easy to make money in my business.
- Money is a beautiful force in this world.
- Money will help me achieve every excellent thing I want to do in this world.
Don’t worry if these don’t “sound” true to you. The other crummy beliefs (like money will corrupt you or money is evil) aren’t any more true, so why not pick the ones that actually serve you?
Money itself is completely neutral. What we do with it gives it life. And you should have as much money as you want so that you can use it to fulfill your values in your life.
(Take a moment to fill out the top part of your worksheet.)
Now, are your income goals crystal clear to you?
Because having a good money mindset is not going to help much if you don’t know exactly what you’re aiming for.
I want to know:
- how much you want to make each month when your practice is full and thriving, and
- how much you have to make this month just to pay your bills.
It’s ok to have more than one goal. I usually do. I have the: I am going to make $X this month (minimum) and I am going to make $X this month (long-term goal).
Now, some of you who follow high-level coaches will say, Yes, but Isabel, you’re defeating yourself by splitting your energy. You should have ONE goal and make that happen no matter what.
Been there, done that. And there is a lot to be said for that method. I mean, after all, I didn’t get where I am today by constantly hedging my bets.
But, after lots of years of being me, I know that’s not actually how my own personal mind works best.
So, I like having the short and the long term always on my mind. It’s not about being stuck in either one. It’s about acknowledging who I am and the amount of stress I can realistically handle in a given day and still be functional.
That’s why I like the two-goal approach – doing what’s right in front of you (i.e. paying the bills) as well as keeping a keen eye on growing into that long-term goal in a reasonable time frame.
Now let’s fit these two things together.
Here is the system that I ask all of my mentees to use (or come up with their own system) and use EVERY SINGLE MONTH.
At the beginning of each month, create a money ritual . . . (if the word “money” bumped right up against that beautiful word “ritual” triggers you, think about that.) For me it’s the following:
1. I flip the month on my wall calendar
2. I go through each of my mindset mantras and refresh them as needed
3. I flip the page on my income calendar (a separate, smaller calendar that lives next to my computer) and write my money goal for the month at the top and get ready to focus on that all month. I figure out what income I already have scheduled for the month (i.e. clients, classes, and workshops already on the books) and plan how to generate the rest.
All of this takes about five minutes and it is deeply satisfying.
4. As I bring in the money, I record on each calendar day every bit of money income from that day. I tally each week on Saturday. (I track expenses elsewhere.)
You can do all of this on your worksheet.
Don’t keep flying by the seat of your pants.
I do this exercise religiously because for YEARS I just flew by the seat of my pants, not having any real income goals, just praying whatever I made would be enough to pay my bills and other expenses that came up.
For years, I never really tracked what income I could realistically plan on, or thought about how to make sure the rest came in as needed.
It was seriously stressful and a genuine energy-suck.
With the system I have now, I am sooooooo much more relaxed.
Now for the sticky bit:
What happens if you try this and DON’T achieve the money goal you set for yourself?
No, seriously, this happens. And it’s fine! In fact, this is where the juicy stuff starts to show up because if you’ve missed your goal, then that means there are some things you need to change.
No need to panic or berate yourself. Business (all businesses) require trial and error, some tweaking here, some fine tuning there, sometimes some major overhauls. But missing a monthly financial goal is not the end of the world.
Missing a goal:
- does NOT mean you’re not a good business owner
- it does NOT reflect on your moral character as a human being
- it does NOT mean you should just give up.
It simply means there’s something about your business you either don’t understand or just need to work on some more.
So, I encourage you to take a half an hour and create your system for how you are going to track your income. Then use it! If you end up not liking it, try something new next month.
REMEMBER: your income is too important to fly by the seat of your pants.
Let me know what you come up with! I always love hearing new ideas about this.
If you haven’t downloaded it yet, here’s Your Money System Worksheet. Let me know how it goes!
- Isabel Spradlin has owned her full-time practice since 2007. She has a deep drive to help other massage therapists and bodyworkers to create thriving businesses for themselves. For comprehensive programs to help you do just that, see the 'Programs' tab in the menu.